Dogs always seem to be hungry, and most of them will eat pretty much anything. Of course, that doesn't mean that what they want is actually good for them.
Most dog owners are well aware of a few things they shouldn't feed to their pooch — chocolate, onions, grapes — but if asked about the essential components of a good dog diet, would you know what to say?
Since quality ready-made dog food generally contain everything a dog needs, most people never need to think about it. Some people are choosing to make their own dog food, in which case it's essential to know what should be in it. But even if you don't want to do this, it can be useful to understand which foods are beneficial to your furry friend so you can share your healthy leftovers with them. Here are a few of the important ones.
Like humans, dogs need protein to grow and stay healthy. But protein isn't just a single substance. Proteins actually consist of various amino acids. Some of them are made by the body, but others can only be consumed as part of the diet. It's important that all of these amino acids are included in a dog's diet, as lacking in just one can cause serious problems. While vegetable sources vary in the specific proteins they contain, meat is a reliable source of them all. A mix of muscle meat and offal is best.
Important for the nervous system and cell growth, dogs typically get B-12 from meat. It can be supplemented, but this shouldn't normally be necessary as long as it's included in food.
Dogs and humans alike need calcium for healthy bones and teeth. It helps maintain strong bones, especially as a dog ages. It's best not to feed a dog cows' milk as they often can't digest it. Instead, sardines, broccoli and beans are good sources.
This vitamin is important for skin and hair, but it may also be beneficial to dogs who need to lose a bit of weight. Find it in liver, seeds and grains.
Eating fat has an association with weight gain, but it's also an important part of feeding a dog healthily. In addition to the fat on meat, a bit of vegetable oil can provide some fat. Just don't feed them too much.
Dogs can get anaemia if they don't have enough iron, so it's one of the essential dietary components. They should get plenty in their normal diet, and feeding a few beans and leafy greens can give them a boost.